Terrie Alafat to chair new independent scrutiny board

The board and will have the power to publish independent public reports about Mears Group.

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Housing and social care provider Mears Group have today (6th February) announced the appointment of former CEO, Terrie Alafat, to its new independent scrutiny board.

The board, one part of a new resident engagement model, will have the right to roam across Mears, will sit equally alongside the PLC board and will have the power to publish independent public reports about Mears.

Alongside nine resident representatives, the board will be chaired by Alafat – who officially retired as CEO from the Chartered Institute of Housing last November.

Alafat took over at CIH in 2015 after roles in central and local government.

Resident board members were appointed independently following a recruitment process with Tpas – The tenant engagement experts.

On her appointment, Alafat said: “Building better relations between landlords, service providers and residents is key to ensuring we deliver service improvements.

“I am therefore delighted to see Mears lead the way from a private sector perspective and am pleased to take on this unique role reporting directly to the PLC Board.

“We have a great team of customers on the Board and we will work hard to hold Mears to account. This is an approach I believe will deliver real benefits to all customers.”

The Your Voice Board is to be structured as follows:

  • Mears Customer Scrutiny Board – An independently chaired panel of customer representatives working alongside the PLC Board and providing oversight, challenge and support to Mears – supported and its independence assured by the Centre for Public Scrutiny
  • Mears Customer Champions Forum – Made up of our own Branch based customer engagement (or equivalent) leads plus other key stakeholders such as client scrutiny board chairs, resident association leads, community activists – creating a link between the Scrutiny Board and our local involvement groups and scrutiny structures
  • Mears Online Customer Network – A virtual network of residents from around the country, who opt into providing feedback on our services – providing insight into what’s important and what’s not – offer opinion and suggestions – validate and endorse our thinking/new initiatives

Mears Group Director of Marketing Communications & Customer Success Gary Jackson said: “We decided that in the wake of the collapse of service providers and the lack of trust placed in the resident engagement practices of the housing sector we needed to lead from the front.

“I am delighted we have been able to attract someone of the calibre of Terrie Alafat to take on the role of the independent chair and the excellent calibre of Mears customers.

“I am confident they will be thorough in their scrutiny of Mears’ activities.

“We know that change is coming from government but rather than wait we wanted Mears to develop an industry leading standard of resident engagement and scrutiny and so we’ve taken the most total approach – we’ve decided to open ourselves up to the most definitive and complete scrutiny by our own residents.”

Jacqui McKinlay, CEO of the Centre for Public Scrutiny added: “The CfPS has its background in local government scrutiny but in recent years there has been a growing demand from the private sector to put in more robust and independent scrutiny arrangements.

“There has been a shift in the private sector, particularly those responsible for the delivery of public services, to proactively respond to deep concerns about how they operate transparently and demonstrate they are open to scrutiny.”

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